On Thursday the 29th of November we met very early in the morning to start our two-day trip to Brussels. At 04:30 the bus first picked up the students who travelled from Leiden and then went further to also pick up the students travelling from The Hague. Even though we were all still quite tired in the early morning hours and mostly slept during the bus ride, there was an atmosphere of excitement in the bus. At 08:30 we finally arrived in our Hostel in Brussels. After having some time to change and getting some refreshment we walked to the House of European History. The museum shows the history of Europe, showing the major developments that had a lasting impact on the European continent. In the museum each of us got a tablet and earphones which guided us through the exhibition. Through the tablet we were not only able to hear the stories about the objects on display in our preferred European language, but could also see more information about the objects in written form on the tablet screen. We all really enjoyed the visit and could have even spend more time learning about the European history. However, there was no time as we, after going to get some lunch, had a meeting with the European think tank Bruegel which is specialized in economics. There we were welcomed by the Secretary General Matt Dann. He gave us an introduction to what the think tank does, how it is financed and how it wants to secure the independence of its research. His presentation was very informative and because of its humoristic style also very amusing. After this meeting we had some time in the hostel to get to see the rooms for the following night and relax before going to dinner. After that the whole group went to have dinner together in an Italian restaurant. This gave us the chance to better get to know each other and talk to some new people. After enjoying dinner many people went to have a Belgian beer, while others were so exhausted by today’s programme that they went back to the hostel to sleep to get energy for the activities of the following day.
By Catrin Böcher
On Monday the 8th of October, the SPIL visited the International Criminal Court in The Hague. We arrived around noon and everyone was well dressed. After going to security, we entered the building, which had just opened in 2015. We had a quick look around in the arrivals lounge, after which our guide also arrived. She welcomed us an informed us on some interesting facts and history of the ICC and the building. After, we got to walk around in the visitor area, accompanied with our own personal audio guide Ipod. The visitor lounge exhibited many different aspect of the ICC, like the recordings of an official court case and the procedure of the treatment of physical evidence.
Thereafter, the guide had prepared a presentation about the procedure that activates after an official complaint of an actor is submitted. The presentation ended with a small Q&A in which our members could ask many questions.
Last but not least, we all got the chance to see one of the three courtrooms. We sat down in the visitor seats, where visitors normally are seated if they want to listen and watch the procedures. We could see the whole area trough a glass window, which was very impressive.
It was an overal great experience. Thanks to the SPIL and the people from the ICC for arranging this visit for us!
By Rosa Kromhout
From the outside, it seemed like it was just a regular Monday evening in the Wijnhaven building. Inside, however, hundreds of students were eagerly waiting for the doors of the lecture hall to open, knowing they would have to run to get a seat on this special night, organized by the Committee of Domestic Affairs of the SPIL. Impressively, some of them waited more than an hour, just so they could get a glimpse of the man of the evening: the Ambassador of the United States of America, Pete Hoekstra.
Five hundred students had the honour of hearing the Ambassador talk with SPIL about his personal career, the bilateral relationship between the Netherlands and the United States of America, and the United States’ foreign policy. He managed to tell about his experiences as the Senator of the state of Michigan and his work as Ambassador in an interesting way, and kept us all listening with great attention. Thanks to professor Niels van Willigen, who lead the conversation with the Ambassador, we now have some more insight on the daily tasks of the Ambassador.
A few lucky students had the opportunity to ask him a question. All of them managed to come up with impressively well-prepared, interesting and challenging questions. The Ambassador welcomed all questions and answered them properly, clearly amused with the opportunity of having interaction with the students.
Sadly, the extremely interesting night had to come to end at some point. To reconcile, the Ambassador promised to come back soon, so that he could answer all our remaining questions. After the Ambassador agreed to have a picture taken of him and all the attendees, he left the room. But the memory of this night will stay with us forever!
By Nicola Otten
Het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken - de studenten die in Den Haag studeren lopen er elke dag praktisch onder door, en iedereen die Den Haag Centraal Station uit komt lopen schenkt geen extra aandacht aan het gebouw. De sfeer die rondom het gebouw en de organisatie hangen zijn tastbaar als je de lobby instapt, en een groep SPIL studenten mocht in het gebouw daadwerkelijk in gesprek gaan met mensen van achter de schermen
Nadat we met de gehele commissie maandenlang voorbereidingen hadden getroffen en geestige, doch productieve vergaderingen hadden gehouden, brak op vrijdag 28 april dan eindelijk het AlleJaarsWeekend 2017 aan. We verzamelden om 17:00 uur op Leiden CS, vanwaar onze lange, maar gezellige treinreis naar het verre Brugge startte. Wie hoopte op een rustige treinreis, kwam bedrogen uit, want er werd een hoop geouwehoerd.
For the 37th birthday of the SPIL, the domestic affairs committee organised a very special lecture. The minister of domestic affairs of the Netherland herself, Kajsa Ollogren, took an hour of her time to talk to the students of the Leiden University.
Delivering a very powerful speech, she described the world as it is now in our age of globalization and important political Netflix shows.
After elaborating on the struggles of today as she sees them, the minister urged the students to fight for their values of freedom and prosperity.
She pointed out that even if those values feel very normal in the Netherlands it was now more than ever important to stand up and fight for what the students believe in.
After her speech she took the time to answer some interesting questions from the audience about getting rid of the time change in the Netherlands, the advisory referendum on the new security law, the future of her party, the first female prime minister and many more.
For the more informal part of the evening the SPIL switched locations to De Storm after this engaging lecture to celebrate and end the day with good music, good company and of course the first drink free.
Happy Birthday, SPIL!
By Helena Daeberitz
On Thursday the 27th of September, Wijnhaven was transformed into a full Dutch market. Students had the chance to visit this ‘Dutch Day’ to get to know everything they wanted about Dutch culture and traditions. Students could take a course in the most important Dutch words, such as ‘Albert Heijn bonuskaart’. They could take a chance in playing traditional Dutch games, like ‘stoelendans’ (dancing with chairs). Furthermore, some Dutch students helped to learn internationals the most original and beautiful pick-up lines. Some more serious matters like how to open a bank account, or get a bike or insurance were also discussed. Students could taste traditional Dutch delicacies: stroopwafels and roze koeken for example. And last, but not least, students had the chance to learn everything about Dutch traditions: from the Dutch anthem to rules about hanging the Dutch flag. A lot of students visited the Dutch Day and had the chance to ask all the questions they wanted and to try different things: we just hope the Dutch pick-up lines did not scare them away..
By Roos Neven
By - Akif Aliyev, 1st Year IRO
''I had the privilege to be one of the 22 students to attend the IAPSS World Congress, the largest annual event for students of Political Science around the world. This years conference in Paris focused on Diversity and Globalization, a phenomena that is increasingly becoming an inevitable part of global life. We contested the benefits and challenges brought to us by an increasingly globalized and interdependent world and discussed how we must approach these changes. As observers, we were given the chance to participate in lively discussions regarding the research and work-in-progress of a panel of high profile scholars and experts, an overall very eye opening experience for anyone pursuing a Political Science degree.
Not only did the conference give us the possibility to expand our scope of knowledge and perspectives through dialogue with other students and academics of the field, but it was also an important step for our futures, giving us a chance to practice our networking skills and learn more about the format of academic conferences and research projects. These will all serve as important skills throughout the course of our studies and beyond.
This trip also gave us - as Leiden University students - the opportunity to bond amongst ourselves, allowing us to find out about the differences and similarities we share between our studies. It is safe to say we enjoyed ourselves in the beautiful city of Paris, where we created memories and acquired valuable experience that we will cherish throughout our academic and social lives.''
Om 8:40 stond bijna iedereen klaar op Leiden Centraal, een deel van de groep sloot aan in Den Haag. Na ongeveer 10 minuten lopen vanaf Den Haag Centraal kwamen we aan bij het gebouw van de Amerikaanse Ambassade. We kwamen binnen via de zijingang i.v.m. security. In groepjes van vier gingen we naar binnen, hier lieten we ons identiteitsbewijs zien en liepen we door een scanner. Onze tassen werden ook gescand en moesten we achterlaten bij de ingang. Ook moesten we onze telefoons uitschakelen en hier achterlaten. We werden door een Nederlandse vrouw van Public Affairs begeleid naar een zaaltje waar we een presentatie zouden gaan krijgen van een Amerikaanse diplomaat. Hier werden we opgewacht door een andere local van dezelfde afdeling.
Afgelopen vrijdag rond het middaguur vertrok de commissie ‘Debat’ richting Amsterdam om daar een bezoek te brengen aan de redactie van het maandblad HP/De Tijd. Hoewel overstappen op de Amsterdamse metro een ware uitdaging bleek waren stipt om 13.00 uur ter plaatse.
We werden gastvrij ontvangen door hoofdredacteur Tom Kellerhuis, de eindredacteur en twee stagiaires.